A year in review
Throughout 2018 we have been highlighting great work being done by organisations up and down the country via our Twitter. Through a series of regular features, we have been celebrating the different aspects that make up the core of our own business and promoting the work of our customer industries. We have decided to select our favourites from these, shining a spotlight on them before we move on to find more great stories in 2019.
As the energy industry swings towards a renewable future, propelled by the government’s Clean Growth Strategy and an ever pressing need to keep global temperature increases to well below 2c over pre-industrial levels, we like to document the UK’s efforts to do their bit. Here are some of the best from 2018.
- Earth hour
At 8:30pm on 24th March hundreds of millions of people around the world took part in WWF’s Earth Hour. Some of the world’s biggest landmarks turned out their lights for an hour, symbolising the need to take care of our planet and cut back on our energy consumption.
- Pointless plastics
Greenpeace launched a social media campaign with the hashtag #pointlessplastics, which encouraged people to expose unnecessary cases of plastic usage. Twitter users would upload their pics with the hashtag and were urged to tag the guilty company in the post. The campaign highlighted the scale of the problem with some downright ridiculous usages of the superabundant material.
- Hothouse Earth
You don’t achieve widespread change by merely documenting the positive stuff. We have to face the realities, whatever form they happen to come in. August saw the BBC spread the word of a ‘Hothouse Earth’, which is a scary concept involving the prospect of boiling hot temperatures and towering seas, should global temperatures rise by 2C.
See more of our #SustainableThursday posts.
Make your organisation greener with our sustainability services.
Council of the Week
We know from working with them that Local Authorities are up against it financially. We know this from reducing their utility costs to free up spending money that they lack from government funding. Despite struggles with spending power, councils have been working towards more affordable homes and tackling other local issues through pushing devolution deals, taking advantage of the removal of the borrowing cap and other strategies that you can see below. In 2019 we have passed the #CouncilOfTheWeek torch on to our sister company Smith Bellerby, who have a proven track record in cost management for councils.
- Bristol council
The lion’s share of our #CouncilOfTheWeek winners tend to be focused on affordable housebuilding projects. But here is an example of a council concentrating on one of our favourite things: green energy. Bristol City council have their own energy service driving towards an aim of carbon neutrality by 2050.
Here is a rundown of everything the council has done and plans to do as part of its renewable energy drive:
- Tower Hamlets council
Towards the beginning of 2018, with the borrowing cap still firmly in place, Tower Hamlets council hit us with a flurry of #CouncilOfTheWeek ammunition. Firstly, mayor John Biggs spoke out about the need for the government to unblock the system for affordable homes. Regardless, the council set out on a social housing building project in Limehouse, in spite of the funding shortage. Finally, the mayor went on to outlaw the use of cheap, poor quality housing materials, in a bid to avoid further down the line issues, again flying in the face of unsustainable, low-cost solutions.
- Wirral council
Another contentious issue that has been doing the rounds is the idea of green belt building. However, Wirral council got around this by locating brownfield sites. The council’s cabinet identified 91 brownfield sites across the borough that had the potential for housebuilding.
Water Saving Wednesday
Here at Monarch we have termed water the ‘unappreciated utility’, as many don’t realise the scope for savings in this area. Having said this, we‘ve managed to find an organisation each week demonstrating water saving schemes and activities. This is important not only for financial reasons but for the future of our planet and its ever-depleting resources.
Taking advantage of the deregulation of the non-domestic water market, Greggs switched its supplier back in March, and according to their head of purchasing, they are already seeing the benefits. They also now have a water management strategy in place, to help them save water across their 1,650 retail stores.
- Yorkshire water
Along with Yorkshire wildlife trust, Yorkshire water began work on their ‘Soak it Up’ project, which aims to raise awareness of sustainable drainage and its effect on the environment. The project was introduced in schools to ensure people are aware from a young age. It even had pupils designing their own flood defences. It’s great to see this kind of work being done in schools.
You can email our sustainability manager at David.Carlyon@monarchpartnership.co.uk to find out how we can help reduce your organisation’s carbon footprint and gain a Planet Mark certification.
See more of our #WaterSavingWednesday posts:
Why not download our Saving Water guide.
Company of the Week
Our company of the week is open to any company that is not a council or a housing association. On top of the aforementioned organisations we also work with the corporate and retail sector on their utilities to ensure they are profitable, sustainable and transparent. This sector makes up the majority of our #CompanyOfTheWeek winners, and is focused quite heavily on sustainable practices.
A good example of commitment to sustainability is Ocado’s work on waste reduction. The online retailer published their total food waste figures early last year. The result? 0.02%, which is just one item in 6,000. Incredible!
Unless you’ve been living in solitary confinement for the last year or so, you probably will have heard the term ‘blockchain’ thrown about quite a bit. Stripped of its intimidating complexity, blockchain is essentially an automated process for bringing transparency to the supply chain. In the interest of supply chain transparency, M&S have created an interactive map of its seafood’s journey from ocean to shelf, and it’s very cool.
As well as many high street food shops featuring in our #CompanyOfTheWeek, we found that lots of restaurant chains were making huge strides with waste reduction and sustainable practices. Wagamamas, for example, began turning used cooking oil into bio-diesel fuel and switched to renewable energy sources. Our focus here, however, is the Mexican restaurant chain Wahaca for their local, responsible sourcing of ingredients and becoming carbon neutral. This will have a huge impact across their many outlets.
See more of our #CompanyOfTheWeek posts:
HA of the Week
Our sister company Welcome Energy work with housing associations on the metering and billing of properties with district and communal heat networks. They have their own take on our campaigns where they celebrate the #HAOfTheWeek. An example of one of these from last year is Pennaf Housing Group, who spearheaded the Gronant Street and Abbey Street scheme in Rhyl, which won the ‘Best Regeneration Project (under 70 homes)’ at the 2018 UK Inside Housing Awards ceremony. It’s a combination of affordable homes for rent and home ownership under the Welsh Government Homebuy loan scheme.
See more #HAOfTheWeek posts
Link to moments
Another company in our family of cost reduction services is ESS Utility. Towards the end of last year they began a running social media campaign entitled #EducationChampion, celebrating great work being done by all kinds of education establishments, from schools to universities. ESS provide a similar service to Monarch but specialise in different industries – education being one of them, along with healthcare and care homes, commercial SMEs, and leisure. Our favourite #EducationChampion from last year was the University of Edinburgh, who saved £180,000 through the Crown Commercial Service demand side response framework. It’s great to see such projects going ahead.
Story of the Week
Every Friday to bring in the weekend both Monarch and Welcome Energy present their #StoryOfTheWeek, which will either be relevant to our services or concern one of the industries that we work with. There have been too many great stories to mention, but you can enjoy them all in our #StoryOfTheWeek twitter moments.
We will continue to document the most interesting stories throughout 2019, along with highlighting the continued great work being done by organisations up and down the country. Be sure to stay in touch!